Whenever we form a relationship with another person, we need to expect a few challenges along the way. Everyone has their quirks and traits which can sometimes make certain situations difficult, or sometimes communication issues which can prove to be confusing or challenging from time to time.
If you are dating someone with any form of autistic spectrum condition, it’s vital that you arm yourself with as much knowledge about that condition as possible. This will help you to understand your partner better, overcome any challenges, and will also give you the tools you need to be able to change the way you deal with certain challenging situations, which might arise throughout the course of your relationship.
Before we go on, let’s give you some basic information on what Aspergers is, and why it can sometimes affect a relationship adversely, when knowledge about the condition is basic.
Someone affected by Asperger’s Syndrome will usually show the following:
As you can see, dating someone with Asperger’s could be a challenge because so many of the affected areas relate to communication. Communication is a vital part of a relationship, as well as being able to openly show emotion to the other person.
If you are dating someone with Aspergers, it’s important to understand the condition as much as you possibly can. Whilst it’s hard to really understand when you’re not the one directly affected, putting yourself in their place as much as possible will make understanding one another much easier overall.
In addition, the following tips should help.
By reading books, reading blogs online, and possibly talking to someone, e.g. a counsellor, you will be able to learn all about the condition, and why people who suffer from it act and respond the way they do. This will help both them and you.
When a person with Asperger's lashes out at something, it’s easy for you to take it personally and think they don’t love you. It’s probably not the case at all. It is the Asperger trait which has made them react that way, and it has nothing to do with the way they feel about you. By understanding more about how Asperger’s works, as well as how the brain of an Asperger sufferer reacts to certain stimuli, you will be able to understand your partner in ways you could never have done before.
For instance, with Asperger’s, the brain doesn’t pick up and process things in the same way as someone who isn’t affected. In a conversation, it might be difficult for your partner to recognise cues, e.g. the tone of your voice, the things you’re not saying, and it could also be difficult for them to recognise your emotions and act accordingly. This doesn’t mean they don’t care about the way you’re feeling or your emotions, they just don’t pick up on it the same way.
Remember, Asperger’s is a condition, it is not a choice. Your partner is not acting this way because they are choosing to, and whilst there are many ways to manage the symptoms and signs of Aspergers, sometimes difficulties arise which cannot be helped. Remember that the problems in your relationship are not because your partner wants them to happen, and it’s also not only down to them. You may be playing a part without even realising it, possibly by not understanding everything about the condition and why your partner is responding to certain situations in different ways.
Resentment can easily work its way into a relationship touched by Asperger’s, usually on the partner who isn’t affected by the condition. Don’t beat yourself up if you sometimes find yourself getting frustrated – dating someone with Asperger’s can be hard, but what you cannot do is let that frustration show and blame your partner. The next point should help.
Learn as much as you can, and it will help you infinitely when dating someone with Aspergers.
One of the key traits of Asperger’s is a lack of emotion. This isn’t because he or she doesn’t have emotions, far from it, they just don’t show them in the same way. This can make having those heart to heart conversations difficult, especially when you throw in the communication problems which are also present. The best way to get around this is to try and connect with each other and your emotions in a slightly different way.
Having experiences together is a good way to achieve this, e.g. going on a day trip to the coast or something similar. Remember that those with Asperger’s don’t like surprises and like to stick to regular patterns of behavior, however, so this is something you will need to talk about beforehand, to avoid an unwanted act of spontaneity. By experiencing things together, you are increasing your bond, and helping you feel closer to each other, with or without showing emotions on both sides.
Remember, dating someone with Asperger's is bound to be hard at first, or even throughout the relationship, so don’t feel guilty that you struggle from time to time. Being aware of the condition and what it is will help you and will also allow you to understand why your partner reacts and acts the way they do. Not taking things personally is also a huge help, and always keeping in mind that your partner does care, even if they don’t always show it verbally or visually sometimes.